from_every_stage.jpg

Jazz Diplomacy
Promoting America in the Cold War Era

By Lisa E. Davenport

208 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, bibliography, index

978-1-61703-837-2 Paper $30.00D

Paper, $30.00

image

* In 2017-2018 University Press of Mississippi is closed for the holidays Thursday, December 21, and will reopen Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Orders sent by Paypal through Tuesday, December 12, will ship in time for Christmas. IF YOU ARE NOT ORDERING FOR THE HOLIDAYS, PLEASE LEAVE US A NOTE IN PAYPAL. After December 12, customers desiring shipping before Christmas should call 1.800.737.7788 and ask for rush delivery. Please be prepared to pay extra for rapid shipping. Orders that come to our website through the holidays (December 21, 2017-January 2, 2018) will begin shipping on January 2, 2018.

How America used jazz musicians to carry the anti-communist message when politics failed

Jazz as an instrument of global diplomacy transformed superpower relations in the Cold War era and reshaped democracy's image worldwide. Lisa E. Davenport tells the story of America's program of jazz diplomacy practiced in the Soviet Union and other regions of the world from 1954 to 1968. Jazz music and jazz musicians seemed an ideal card to play in diminishing the credibility and appeal of Soviet communism in the Eastern bloc and beyond. Government-funded musical junkets by such jazz masters as Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Benny Goodman dramatically influenced perceptions of the U.S. and its capitalist brand of democracy while easing political tensions in the midst of critical Cold War crises. This book shows how, when coping with foreign questions about desegregation, the dispute over the Berlin Wall, the Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam, and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, jazz players and their handlers wrestled with the inequalities of race and the emergence of class conflict while promoting America in a global context. And, as jazz musicians are wont to do, many of these ambassadors riffed off script when the opportunity arose.

Jazz Diplomacy argues that this musical method of winning hearts and minds often transcended economic and strategic priorities. Even so, the goal of containing communism remained paramount, and it prevailed over America's policy of redefining relations with emerging new nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Lisa E. Davenport is an independent scholar living in Los Angeles, California.

Photograph--Dizzy Gillespie in Kenya, courtesy Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville

208 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, bibliography, index